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Cefixime Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 20, 2022.

For the Consumer

Applies to cefixime: oral capsule, oral powder for suspension, oral tablet chewable

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, cefixime may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking cefixime:

More common

Less common

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • agitation
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • coma
  • confusion
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • decreased urine output
  • depression
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling of discomfort
  • fever
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • headache
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • hostility
  • inflammation of the joints
  • irritability
  • joint or muscle pain
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • lethargy
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle aches
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea and vomiting
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rapid weight gain
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • stupor
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • swollen glands
  • swollen lymph glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
  • back, leg, or stomach pains
  • cough or hoarseness
  • coughing up blood
  • diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • general body swelling
  • increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  • increased thirst
  • nosebleeds
  • paralysis
  • prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • red or black, tarry stools
  • red or dark brown urine
  • sudden decrease in the amount of urine
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual weight loss

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of cefixime may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloated
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • hives or welts
  • indigestion
  • itching of the vagina or genital area itching or pain of the genital area
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • passing gas
  • redness of the skin
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
  • white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue
  • white patches with diaper rash

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cefixime: oral capsule, oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable


The most commonly reported side effects included gastrointestinal effects, diarrhea, nausea, and/or frequent/loose stools.[Ref]


Diarrhea more commonly occurred with higher doses. Treatment cessation was occasionally warranted in patients who developed moderate to severe diarrhea. Patients who develop marked diarrhea should discontinue treatment.[Ref]

Very common (10% or more): Gastrointestinal effects (up to 30%), diarrhea (up to 16%)

Common (1% to 10%): abdominal pain, dyspepsia, flatulence, frequent stools, loose stools, nausea

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vomiting

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Antibiotic-associated colitis

Frequency not reported: Marked diarrhea, moderate diarrhea, severe diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis

Postmarketing reports: Colitis[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Alkaline phosphatase increased, ALT increased, AST increased, liver enzyme increased

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Cholestatic jaundice, hepatitis

Frequency not reported: Blood bilirubin increased, jaundice

Postmarketing reports: Cholestasis, hyperbilirubinemia, liver dysfunction[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Rash/skin rash

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Pruritus

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis

Frequency not reported: Erythema multiforme, face edema, urticaria[Ref]

Nervous system

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Headache

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Vertigo

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Psychomotor hyperactivity

Frequency not reported: Convulsions, consciousness impaired, dizziness, encephalopathy, movement disorders

Postmarketing reports: Seizures[Ref]

Encephalopathy included confusion, convulsions, impaired consciousness, and/or movement disorders; beta-lactams predispose patients to the risk of this side effect, especially in cases of overdose or renal dysfunction.

Convulsions occurred with cephalosporins.[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Bacterial superinfection, fungal superinfection

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Serum sickness-like reaction/serum sickness

Postmarketing reports: Candidiasis, superinfection[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Angioneurotic edema, hypersensitivity

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylactic shock

Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic reaction/anaphylactoid reaction, angioedema

Postmarketing reports: Allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock, fatal anaphylactic reaction[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Mucosal inflammation, pyrexia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Drug fever[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Eosinophilia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Agranulocytosis, hemolytic anemia, leukopenia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia

Frequency not reported: Direct positive Coombs test, granulocytopenia, hypereosinophilia, indirect positive Coombs test, neutropenia, thrombocytosis

Postmarketing reports: Aplastic anemia, prothrombin time prolongation[Ref]


Tubulointerstitial nephritis was an underlying pathological condition of acute renal failure.[Ref]

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Blood urea increased

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Acute renal failure, blood creatinine increased, interstitial nephritis, tubulointerstitial nephritis

Postmarketing reports: Renal dysfunction, toxic nephropathy, transient blood urea nitrogen elevation (BUN)[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Anorexia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Dyspnea[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Arthralgia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Genital pruritus, vaginitis[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Hemorrhage[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Confusion[Ref]

Frequently asked questions


1. "Product Information. Suprax (cefixime)." Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc (2002):

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.